If you take a spousal benefit at 62, the earliest eligibility age, your benefit would be based on your spouse's full retirement benefit but with reductions because you are claiming early.
For example, if you were born in 1959, your full retirement age (FRA) is 66 and 10 months. Claiming when you turn 62 would provide a spousal benefit equal to 32.9 percent of your mate's full retirement benefit. The proportion increases each month you wait to file, maxing out at 50 percent if you do so at your FRA.
Receiving a spousal benefit does not affect the amount of your spouse's retirement benefit. That's based on his or her own earnings history and claiming age.
Keep in mind
- Under Social Security's "deemed filing" rule, you can't separately claim retirement and spousal benefits. When you apply for one, you're applying for the other, if you're eligible. Social Security will pay you whichever benefit amount is higher.
- Widows and widowers are subject to different reductions for taking survivor benefits before full retirement age.
Updated June 3, 2021
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